Newspaper positions on #YesOn1 (RCV in NYC)

Next month, New York City voters will decide on Question 1. This would establish the Alternative Vote for party primaries and special elections to the offices of Mayor, Public Advocate, Comptroller, Borough President, and City Council. It also would mandate that Council redistricting be completed by the time that candidates can begin collecting signatures. Finally, it would extend the period for early voting.

There has not been much visible opposition. The Brooklyn Daily Eagle has a good, short summary of the charter review process.

Historically, the local media have been important in such matters. Therefore, it is useful to compile newspapers’ positions on the measure. This is not a systematic survey — just the result of an hour’s Google search. I may update the post as new information appears.

The New York Timesin favor:

Such a system could help prevent costly runoff elections that take place when no candidate has won a clear majority. Ranked-choice voting has also been shown to increase voter participation and has been successfully used in Maine as well as in cities in the Midwest and California.

The Brooklyn Daily Eaglesupportive in tone, as of July 25:

That’s confusing.

Maybe, but it’s already being used in Maine and some cities in California, and proponents say it could help make crowded primary elections more representative of the will of the people.

Right now, in a five-person primary, a candidate can win with as little as 21 percent of the vote total. In the 2013 mayoral election, for instance, de Blasio ended up with 40 percent of the vote in an 8-person field. And this proposal would take effect in January 2021, in time for that year’s mayoral election, which will probably feature a similarly large number of candidates as de Blasio is term-limited out of office.

The Washington Square News (NYU student paper) – in favor:

…Clearly, the current electoral system does not produce acceptable turnout.

Ranked-choice voting could help with this problem. In San Francisco — one major city that has implemented RCV — voter turnout has gone up considerably…

With the ability to rank multiple candidates, voters have the option of supporting individuals who wouldn’t usually be able to win in the current system… New York City voters can have a system that is focused on the candidate, rather than the party.

Ranked-choice voting forces candidates to use less negative campaigning as well, in order to gain partial support from other candidates’ bases. As a result, campaigns are more inclusive and become less toxic.

The New York Postoppose:

This asks a lot of voters, and of the notoriously dysfunctional city Board of Elections. It’s an invitation to major confusion — and long lines — if turnout is at all high.

The Daily Newssupportive op-ed:

Campaigning for public office is hard. Campaigning as young insurgent women is even harder.

The decision to run for office is not an easy one, especially without the backing of party bosses and Democratic Party machines to guarantee votes, money, volunteers and endorsements. There’s a real push for candidates to “wait their turn” or coalesce behind the machine choice.

City & State NYfavorable coverage:

A decrease in negative campaigning may be the most notable change to that has been seen in other cities that may should the city adopted ranked choice…

The campaign of Queens district attorney Melinda Katz has turned markedly negative against fellow candidate Tiffany Cabán in the closing days of the campaign.


We’ll have more stories on the ballot questions themselves in the weeks to come.

Queens Daily Eaglesupport:

Ranked choice voting will be one of the most impactful issues on the ballot to the average voter if passed during this election.

New York Business (Crain’s) – supportive op-ed:

This is nothing new. Candidates in New York City routinely win without majority support…

Is it any wonder we have such low voter turnout, particularly for primaries and local offices?

The Fulcrumpretty neutral coverage:

In New York, a coalition of advocates for the switch includes progressive activists and pro-business groups, and they are cautiously optimistic of victory…

“No one wins without a majority of voters, so politicians will have to respect every community,” is the heart of [Michael Douglas’] pitch.

Business interests are stressing something different: That municipal politics would likely shift from reliably liberal to somewhat centrist…